Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Happy New Year.....

Our little gumdrop never liked winter. Pretty much like the cat, when the temperature drops, she didn't want to leave the house. LOL. It got to the point, that we needed a jump twice in the last month, and while trying to start, she sounded like she had a bad cough.  Yes, I'm still talking about our KA. LOL. So Friday, I called my "go to" guy at EDAC, and he could check her out this morning and yesterday, I arranged for a jumpstart this morning, in time to get me to the garage to have her looked at. By the sounds we heard,  the little harder start every time until it finally wouldn't start, the fact that she doesn't like cold weather,  and putting that together with what I found online.... we were afraid, that the engine was losing compression, which would have meant that we would have to put a "For Sale" sign in the window, so I went to the garage preparing to lose my baby....  I'm pretty sure Edwin has never seen anybody happier when he showed me the battery test, that read 185 out of possible 395 of whatever he tested, and told me that I needed a new battery. LOL.  It wasn't really a decision that needed lots of thought, without a new battery, I would have had to leave the car where it sat, because it wouldn't start, just from doing a 3 minute full load test, until we got a new one..... so he ordered it, handed me a cup of coffee, and said it would be there in about an hour while I sat in the car and made my weekly plan....

When the battery got there and he started to take the old one out, I heard him mumble, so I went to look. He is used to me hovering when he's working on the car, asking questions and wanting to know what he's doing and why. Not because I don't trust him, quite the opposite, actuallly, (if he tells me it needs fixing, I KNOW it needs fixing, because he will also tell me if it doesn't need fixing, just cleaned, adjusted or what have you).  I want to learn how our KA fits together, and he gets that, and happily answers questions, and points things out if I don't get the connection right a way, but for a simple battery swap, I figured, I'd done it, seen it done, and honestly, I didn't really want to leave my seat..... When I get around to the front of the car, he is holding up the battery, looking at it from all angles and points to the Ford logo on one side of it........ IT WAS THE ORIGINAL BATTERY!!! The "born on date" of our Lady in Red is January 2000....... so that battery lasted 16 years, and more than 100000 KM! I considered taking a picture, just for a second :-)   The new one has a 2 year warranty, and as far as everything I read on batteries these days, if you get 5 years out of them, you're a lucky duck, so she did good :-)

On a castle note.... Bird of pray workshops are set for February 12th and 19th, and more will be added if there is a need. I will be there, so I will "report" afterward.

Mike is in the middle of inventory this week, it's starting to snow, (well actually, there's 10 raindrops followed by one snowflake that melts with it hits the ground, but I'm not complaining.  LOL)  and I should be getting back to work. I found this really cool looking menu for my website, but I have a hard time getting it to work, but I am also adjusting my logo and colors, to see if there is a more professional way that still looks like "me" .... If I'm not happy with anything I'm coming up with, I'll stick with my first idea..... I think.....maybe...... Oh, I don't know. LOL.

This is all I have to tell you today, so I'm signing off. Don't forget to hug a loved one, may they be human or of the furry variety, and enjoy your day :-)


Thursday, December 29, 2016

I should already be "at work"

but I wanted to share yesterday with you..........

It was cold, but there was no wind, and even the sun showed up, ever so briefly.......
We had SUCH a good day at the castle. I don't know the exact figures, but the castle was bustling. Our poor parkinglot couldn't handle the cars. SO COOL!

Halfway up the tower, looking at the second island......You can see the lean-to that will hold our beehives in a couple of months.

I took a couple of pictures, but my camera is not much of a match for what I wanted to show you.....

Paul with the Harris Hawk

A very young falconer in training... (I didn't get his name)

The falconer with a Golden Eagle and 2 of my co-volunteers

The falconer with his little volunteers to hold the birds.
Like a well oiled machine, Wim and Paul divided the kids in 2 camps and flew the birds from one group to the other, so they could accommodate every one. I did see some of them go around and join the other group after their turn. LOL (Can't blame them, really)

Paul with his little helpers

It was so much fun. The group you see in these pictures were only part of what was there during the  show. As soon as the falconer said that was the end, and if there were little ones that wanted to hold a bird, or anyone with questions was welcome, most people bailed in favor of warmth and coffee.

The birds will fly really close to the ground, as to not give away their position to others, so they really skimmed the crowd sometimes. You should have heard the kids squeel  (and try to get in the path of the birds at the next fly over)...... :-)

Next time, Wim promised to fly from the tower....... when he has had time to practice and after the birds are used to the premises. All flew with a tracker yesterday, and will for a while, just in case they get spooked and don't land in the right spot......
What I really liked about the show, was while he was flying the birds, Wim would be explaining their habits, how old they were vs how old they can get, their habitat and even how they use thermal currents to float..... Very interesting stuff. Even if a little bit of it sticks, you'll learn something.

Wim also mentioned that he would be open for foto workshops...... 

Well, I'm well past my start time, so I best get to steppin' LOL.
Don"t foget to hug a loved one, and have a safe "rutch" as they call it in Limburg. Meaning "slide safely into the new year"

Love and hugs,

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

YEEHA! It worked!

The castle officially has a falconer!

You may remember that I was working on getting a falconer for the open days in September? Well, my favorite one contacted me right before winter close to see if we were still having a Christmas market this year, and if he could come up with a couple of birds and test the waters for workshops at our castle..... I sadly had to tell him that we weren't going to have one this year, but we would love the workshops. So he came by the castle, we talked, and walked the grounds. The minute he hit the gate, I could see his mind starting to work and the more we talked and walked the grounds, the more engaged he became. We set up a meeting with the big boss, and he was on board as well. So "all" that was left to do, was figuring out the details. I made a list of possible questions we could get asked, questions that needed answers before we even started, and possible thoughts on what else we could do, and set another meeting, and another. I arranged for our resident photographer to come and take pictures of the falconer, on site, with some birds, because I couldn't really get the extractions the way I wanted them. Somehow they kept looking "put together".

Last Tuesday, the falconer came by, with a couple of birds to figure out the best place to do the show from. By the way, did I tell you that he's giving two shows on December 28th?  Sorry :-)
We were having a conversation about the glove he uses, and how to train the birds to come and go and he puts the glove on my arm.... I didn't really think about it, figured it was part of the conversation, to show what it feels like, but imagine my confusion when I was halfway thru that thought and I had a Harris hawk about 5 inches off my face and on my arm.... It was unreal, and SO so awesome! He flew back and forth a couple of times, and I was surprised how light he was on landing and take-off, for such a big bird. I know their bones are hollow, but you would figure they'd way atleast a little bit more than nothing.....  Later on,  I also got to hold a Horned Owl.  No matter what the rest of the day would have brought..... I had a great day! (and pictures..... LOL)

Wim (with Steppe Eagle) and Paul in the courtyard

Wim and Grey Eagle Buzzard on our castle wall-walkaround

Wim picked up his Blue Eagle 22 years ago from Chili..... 

Some lady with a Harris Hawk
Our photographer photographed with a Horned Owl

I'm not sure yet how to pull it off, but I'm going to try and sign up for one of his workshops.... Maybe I can talk Mike into doing it together for our anniversary :-)

In closing, I want to wish you a very merry Christmas, and the best year yet for 2017!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

found this on facebook.....

and it's pretty accurate in expressing what I feel!

Love and hugs

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Got a minute? :-)

PFFFFFF! Turkey is cooking, coffee is made, snacks are within reach........ Time for a chat!

Life has been a whirlwind of learning, adjusting, adapting, more learning, adjusting and adapting for a while now. We're not done yet, but I have high hopes that the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed a light, and not a freighttrain. LOL.

As most of you know, I don't like change, and I don't adapt very well, but learning I LOVE, so I guess the last little while hasn't been a total downer :-) After chemo and the culture shock of moving back to Holland, I just don't do the changes in course like I used to. Don't know what it is, whether it is everything put together, ages inflexibility kicking in, or just being tired of having to shift gear whenever somebody thinks it's that time, but I wish I could hit a nice tranquil stream, do my thing and just float for just a little while. BUT we all know there is no such thing, so I'm going to have to be OK with life as it hits me! LOL.

After finalizing my schooling in July, I started on the hard part of being a webdesigner... The business side. I'm not bad at it, I just don't have a clue LOL. So, I'm learning. Babysteps all the way, with lots of detours, because my silly mind is never happy with the information given, it always wants "more input". The upswing to that is that I get a way better understanding of what's waiting for me, mainly better reading glasses and lots of paperwork :-) The downside is that there is so much stuff in my brain right now, that I'm sometimes wondering if I'm not heading for total harddrive failure. Usually that happens right before our fuzzy roommate lays on the keyboard and demands attention though, so it's all good.

I went to the powers that be, after the chamber of commerce scared the bejeebies out of me, by telling me I couldn't, not with the approval of the Gemeente, get the permit to register my businessname, so I could build my website and "get going". I had my interview and was told that it could take up to 10 days before I heard back..... not quite. I barely made it home when I got a call from the company that would evaluate my plan and person as to wether it was ok to do. They made an appointment for Monday. Mind you, this is Thursday late afternoon, and at this point, my office is still squarely positioned on the kitchen table, because my desk is buried under boxes and whatnots that didn't have a place in the house, or missed the oneway trip to the dump/thriftstore.... We kicked butt that weekend, and got my office all done! Mike was great! He was soooo tired at night, that we had 4 days of sandwiches for lunch and dinner, because neither one of us had the energy to make anything that involved more than slamming a slice of bread on a plate, spread some speculoos or nutella on it, pour  a glass of milk and chow.  BUT we got it done, all went well, and within 3 weeks I had my "You're good to go" letter in the mail, followed by my first coaching session a week later. So I'm now officially official :-)

So far, it's been so cool, but I haven't had much time to code or anything, and it's beginning to worry me a little. I'm afraid I'll have to start over, but I'll start sneaking a little fun in here and there. Still have to be able to show a website before too long, so I best get started on it. I've decided fro the beginning it's NOT going to be a WP site, and I'm going to code it from scratch. I will also follow all the steps I should take when I'm building a site for a customer, so I know how long things will take (I'm sure that will help in the part of my training where I'll have to explain what I want to charge and why....) and what snag I might need to try and untangle at different points in the process.

I'm really chomping at the bit to get going on the "doing" business, but I am learning that I can't get away with not "learning" and "setting up" business.  It's fun, but a different kind of hard work than I expected. Not complaining though I'm just in that "I want to BE there......" whiny fase of the project. LOL!

We're watching Giants Football right now, followed by the Bills football, followed by Pumpkin-pie with hot chocolate. Dinner a little after that, and meeting at the castle around 6...... Mike has to go to work at 5 for Black Friday, and I give a senior computer-class at 9 so we won't make it late... but it's nice to have a "forced" down day. No books, no school, no webinars for me today, just fun. I may do a little scrapping, or website prep, but no "have to get it done today"-things.

Thanks for visiting, and I hope your Thanksgivings day is what you want it to be. As for me, I'm thankful to have my best friend next to me no matter what happens, be alive and be able to try and make a difference in our lives, by working my tail off :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one, twice when they're off the fuzzy variety and enjoy the day.

Love and hugs,

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's over

for me at least. I didn't advance to the next round in teh LayOut Artist challenge. There were a lot less voters this week I think than last week, but that was not the reason I didn't make it...... I got 2 votes, there were 24 contestants and only 20 were going to the next round. Three people had 1 vote, and I was next...... I'm a little disappointed, and if I'm honest, I probably wouldn't have had the time to be a CT for the site anyway. But it was fun while it lasted, and I wish all that are still "in it" the very best of luck :-)

I'll keep creating for Diane, and catch up on the pages for Boo, and call it good. Maybe, God forbid, scrap some of the photo's I have and make that Life-Book I've been working on for going on 10 years now. LOL.  NAH! Something will come up and throw a rod into the mix somewhere....

But my main focus has to be to finetune my coding skills. No news yet, whether I'll be looking for work, or working for me, but I need to expand and keep up with what I know, so that will be my 35 to 40 hour workweek, until I know more. I will get on with it next week, when Mike's going back to work, so that will give me a couple of days to revisit my plan of attack.

Well, you're as up to date as life ever gets here! It's 10PM, I'm (barely) functioning on 3 hours of sleep, so I'm going to see if my head recognizes my pillow, and if I can get some zzzz's for a couple of hours. Tomorrow, we have racks to put together, closets to take apart and shit to shift, so........ I'll leave you to it. :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Week TWO

of the LayOutArtist contest 2016.........
I made it thru week One. First I thought I made it, because there were 20 people going to round two, and we didn't have 20 entries, and than I counted, and saw that I actually would have gotten in on votes.... SOOOO happy about that :-)

Week TWO was a little less nerve wrecking, because I read the rules first... AND didn't have the deadline to contend with, because I'm actually a day early.

This week was all about the template. I used the one by Jenn Maddox called Artisan Favorite  but I mixed it with the mask of the other possible template we could use A little bit Arty. As soon as I saw the possible templates, I knew which one I wanted to use, and what picture to use on it, but I wanted a mask behind the template parts.

The kit used had to be from a Studio Designer, and I picked AKIKO by Diane Birrel. I tried to make a mask, but it didn't work, so I "stole" the mask from the other template. I hope I don't get disqualified for doing that, but I DO like the result, so.........

The shards and lamp are extracted from pictures I took at the exhibit.
Come look at the entries, vote for your favorites and maybe pick up s freebie or two?

Don't forget to hug a loved one, twice when they're of the fuzzy variety?


Friday, October 7, 2016

"You shall read the rules.......

before you post!" LOL.

Blondy here :-) I posted my entry for the Layout Artist contest, the way I had written up to do it... you know, post it here, that way etc.  and was very proud of myself but after a while I decided to read the rules, and discovered that the picture I used, and therefore most of the page, was not allowed........ So I spent the last 2 days to find a picture that would fit the layout, instead of having the picture and building the page around it, the way I usually do........ Now my pictures are spread out over 3 tera-drives and over a couple of folders, and even than, not in any particular order, so I'm very surprised I even made the deadline of finishing, and "all" I have to do now, is to get it posted everywhere it needs to go.......... again. LOL   You know, having the change the picture after you're happy with the page is a little bit like expecting enchiladas and getting hamburger-helper. It's still good, just not what you planned on..... This page is a little like that for me.

Voting will start in about 2 hours I think, so I hope you help me out :-)

Don't forget to hug a loved one, and enjoy Di giorno de Colombo :-)


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I must have too much time on my hands.....

Or I'm just plain nuts. LOL. 
Now, before you hit that responds button......... This is a statement, not a question so it does NOT need an answer :-).......

I signed up for the  Layout Artist Contest at The Studio this year. It's not that I don't have anything to do,far from it, really, but it's a reflex! I miss scrapping, but I'm on the computer so much, that when/if I'm done with what needs doing, I check email and turn it off. I want to get back into scrapping, fit it back into my schedule. Every time I fall into bed at 3, knowing the alarm goes off at 5, with the fuzzy alarm going off at 4..... I think about giving up the CT duties, but I know I don't want to, so I'll have to find a way to "work it in".  I figured with the strict deadlines in the contest, it's a good way to get back in the habit, and lets face it.... It's just too much fun NOT to go for a contest like this!

There is a slight "hitch in the giddy-up" in that you need votes to proceed to the next level..... Not sure how I will work that in, but I'm hoping that everybody that knows me, will vote for me, if they think I should advance. If I don't stack up to the other contestants.... so be it :-)  Just in case, voting starts on October 7th and ends on the 10th. Not sure how the voting works, if you can vote on the page itself, or whether there is a separate thread per week..... but it should be fairly easy to follow the breadcrumbs around to the voting page. The other thing is, you have to sign up at the site, I believe.

So, here's my first weeks layout.
I always loved the car in Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries, so I had a picture of the car saved, but hadn't done anything with it, but have it as a background for a while...... 

I used the scatter and a very fuzzy circle as a mask for the picture.  I cropped the hood-ornament and ghosted it into the page and also used the Peonies and some of the butterfly to make it look like they belong on the white grungy sheet. The font used is Empire and I will have to find out which designer created which part of the rest of the page before I post it in The Studio

Here you go............... Hope you like it :-)

Friday, September 2, 2016


I thought I had heard all the crap music, seen all the crap theater and wasted all the time I was ever going to waste....... Until tonight.
We had Cultura Nova at the castle, and a performance of the picnic horrific..... I use the term performance loosely, and the horrific part was spot on!

On top of that, the organizer  scored some major bonus points as far as I'm concerned..... About 5 minutes after the performance started, the catering crew left, and I was wondering why, and was told.... Well, these people get paid, so if there's nothing for them to do, we send them home. If they were volunteers, it would be a different story, we could keep them here, not a problem. WTF? It perfectly illustrates how people think about volunteers. You're just useful, besides that, you're crap to them..... You know I love the project, I think it's very unique, very worthwhile, and I will do anything I can, to help, but besides giving tours, I'm pretty much done with it. This shit with... you do it, but I'll tell you how, while I'm trying to start my business, the partners that are supposed to help the project, using the volunteers as well as the project to further whatever it is they want to further, and the project doesn't get anything out of it..... I'm pretty disgusted right now. You sign up to be here, with no instructions, whatever, no one is reachable, and you're on your own ..... and I could go on a bit, but I won't.

I have 3 more boards to make for the exhibit. Due yesterday, but thru some major pain in the ass, that at the last minute decided I wasn't doing it right, throwing all kinds of monkey-wrenches and insults, no constructive critisism and only crap my way, and than goes on vacation, the fun is missing. As if I'm not stressed enough yet.

Just in the last 10 days, the Neons ABS went out, and yesterday the KA went thru its brakes. Our vacation got cancelled the day before Mike was supposed to be off, Wednesday I have an appointment with the Taxman, and after that I can figure out if I'm going to work for someone else, or for me. While having a 2 day workweek. I'm not sure how much more fun I can take.

Well, I'm done whining, and sorry to bug you with it but...... Shit happens, I just wish it would go somewhere else every once in a while.....

Don't forget to hug a loved one, and if you could, send a a couple of good thoughts our way?

Love and hugs,

Sunday, August 28, 2016

AH..... BLISS!

This is my idea of an awesome day at work: In a rocker, on the landing of the wolverine habitat, waiting for them to come out and play....

I should be working on my business plan, or the exhibit for the castle, but I'm just vegging. Enjoying the quiet in between visitors, who have no idea what they're missing, when they run up, look around, don't see anything, and leave again. It's been almost 3 hours, and I haven't seen them yet, so the visitors may have a point, but I still think if you're in a zoo to watch animals, you should at least give them a chance to show up :-) If you want them ready and waiting for you at the fence, you really should consider going to a ridingstable.

Internet is available, but I can't even get google to come up, so I'm happily "off line" today. I wonder if I should check  with the cell provider, if the bundle I'm looking for when I'm "official" includes me using my phone to get my laptop online.

The other thing I'm just thinking of is......... If I'm offline, will my "local host" dealy work? That will put a crimp in me coming out to my favorite office to work..... I'll try that out in a little bit. For now, I want to sit, relax and if I drift off......... so be it, as long as I don't drop my laptop that is.

Sitting here, I noticed that the zoo is growing up. There are less bare spots, trees are thicker, and so is the underbrush, and were the wolverines pretty stealthy before, I truly believe they could be right below me in the woods, and I would not see them. Luckily they still have the old paths in use, so maybe I'll get lucky today, and see them. Per the newsletter, they now have a new male to better match up with the female they had put with the older male when his mate died, so I don't know where their favorite spots are yet. I never DID get an answer as to what happened to the old male. He was so funny to watch. Always busy, running this way or another, inquisitive and playful. I couldn't count the times he would haul ass thru the paddock, dissappear, and reappear halfway up a tree. Always the same one, but never from the same route as the last time. I think watching this little guy got my love for them started, and the special Casey Anderson did on them, clinched it. Wolverine will have to go on my list of pets I would love to have and know I can't because they're not quite "cuddle up on a cold winters night" material, and best viewed in their element....... right up there with a wolf, a cougar, a bobcat, a raccoon and a hedgehog.

Clouds are coming in, so I hope it will rain so they'll come out and play, but it's been awfully quiet.......... Even the birds seem to be giving this area a mis.  Upswing is... there's not a whole lot of people here today..It's almost 1, computer is starting to run low on juice, I'm getting hungry and I drank 2 bottles of water (with the customary side effects) so I think I will wander down to the restaurant for relief and a cup of tea and see if they have a plug-in.

Don't forget to hug that loved one?


What's not to love about this office? LOL.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


will I sign up for a course at Scheidegger. What a mess!
I told you about the first half of the course, and some parts of the second half, but the final part is the absolute kicker!

So I turned in my exam, (did I tel you about how easy that was?) and waited. 4 to 6 weeks...... On Thursdaymorning, so the day before the deadline for getting my grade, I got word that my results were in and zipped over to e-connect to see, and just about had a conniption fit!  I failed with a 1 (out of 10 score) Not because I didn't know what I was doing, but because they couldn't open the files I had sent them. I couldn't figure out what was going on with that, because I sent myself an email, with the same zipfile from WeTransfer, and opened it just fine.... And than I realized..... I had never seen a download confirmation that they had actually downloaded the files in the first place, even though I had told them, that the link was only good for a certain number of days AND even put the expirationdate of the link in the email. I did get an email that they had sent the files on to the examiner, but I forgot to ask if they sent him the link, or the actual files. I guess that's on me.......

So I emailed them to ask the WTF!? You wait 6 weeks to tell me you can't open the files, that open just fine for everybody else, by the way, and than fail me? I got no response to that, so I called, and got no response, so I sent them another email......... and got a response! I was amazed. So sorry, don't know what happened, examiner should have let us know, so we could have advised you to resubmit, you have till Monday end of business to send us your exam information. Mind you, this email I get afternoon Friday!. In itself not a problem, but at this time, I have no clue WHY he can't open the files, and if it is the way they're zipped, sending it again, is not going to help, but WILL take a retry for the exam away. So I call, and all I'm told is that he couldn't open it, and they don't know why, and to just send it in, "it will be ok". YEAH RIGHT!!

So I send it in, in loose folders, attached to an email, (which promptly turned it into a googledrive file) with the question if they can see if they can open the files, and let me know, because I don't know why the examiner couldn't open them. I even included the email from a friend, showing that THAT morning, he opened the zip I sent initially, without a problem, so........ Help me out here. (At this time it's after 5, so well after they close for the weekend, and I'm twitching all weekend) Now their email system sends you the per-functionary "we got your mail, and get back to you eventually" message, so I called them Monday morning, probably 5 minutes after they switched the phone off weekend-service to let them know it was there, and could they please check....... They couldn't open the files, but they could check with the examiner, and please hold........  After a couple of minutes, they get back on the phone, they cannot reach the examiner, but they will open up the e-connect exam upload area for me, until the next evening. At this point, I STILL don't know if it is a zipfile thing, or if I deleted one too many files from the baseprogramming, but I'm deciding to roll with it anyway.  So I delete the old files, and upload all the files seperately. Now that's a tricky bit, because, there's an 8  file-upload max AND a total MB max the system wil allow (the reason I tried to streamline the website in the first place) I combine what I can into folders, cross my fingers and hit send.... Monday evening, I go thru what I uploaded with my nieces boyfriend to troubleshoot possible trouble, since we don't know if they can, or why they wouldn't be able to, open the files. He "spare" zips them a couple of ways, even though we both know that a zip is a zip, but hey, at this point we're grasping at straws, he writes me a hash, so they can check if the files corrupt in transfer somehow. I know, at this point, I have done everything I can possibly do to get the files there, and silently vow, if they still can't open them, I'm going to drop them off on a usb-stick taped to a brick, thru the office window. LOL.
So Tuesday morning, I call the office again, and it showed them received and passed on to the examiner. When I told him I was wondering why they couldn't be opened by them, and if maybe it was the specialized programs used to create the files (but I sincerely hoped the examiner would have them installed as well) or if there was a fundamental problem with the files, he was very nice about it, put me on hold and talked to the examiner, and came back on. He didn't seem so upbeat at that point, and when he said: "Your files are with the examiner, he can and has opened them, and your work has his full attention" my heart sank...... I figured he would nitpick it to death, just because I had been a pest! I was told that there would be results posted probably by end of the week, but no later than the end of next week.  Wednesday evening I had my results! I passed! Score of 7 out of 10, so I was extremely pleased with that. Now I can start practicing and learning for real! I'm expecting my diploma in the mail within 10 days!

You know, I'm happy I made it, but I honestly believe that this whole experience should not have been so freaking stressful. It's not the study, it's everything around it that just feels like a sheister operation. I mean, I got the same help from the teacher as if I were doing a "do it yourself" downloadable PDF course.  The books weren't worth the 400Euro's they charged for them, but I guess if they charge the same for books on every course, some courses come out ahead, and some will have more costs than gets taken in, and in the overal picture, the school doesn't lose money on the deal....... I think they actually worked for the 195 Euro I paid to take my exams, but I think they royally overcharged for the teacher to be there! And than there is the fact that they "forgot" to inform me that the course that I picked, was cancelled, sending me double the distance to school etc. etc. etc!

BUT! I MADE IT! Now the fun really starts!  I need to practice so if you have ideas, send them to me, so I have other ideas than my own to work on, but mainly to get me out of my comfort zone. THAT part doesn't take a whole lot at the moment, but still. LOL.

Well, you're updated. Tomorrow I'm going to test my "office at the zoo" and if that works, I'll be working there one day a week, until it gets too cold. Got my spot all picked out. Above the Wolverine pen, there is this deck, with hanging wicker chairs hanging from the ceiling, looking out over the whole area....... THAT'S where you will find me tomorrow, from 10 to 6. Mike will drop me off, go to work, and pick me up (he "hopes to remember to swing by the zoo" LOL) on his way home.....

For folkes reading this, and in the area, we're having a free entry to the castle weekend September 10 and 11, with all kinds of things going on, and I'm in charge of the exhibit about Archeology at the castle! SO MUCH FUN!!  I'm working on getting a Falconer, but not having a lot of luck, the event being 2 weeks away and all. LOL. I'll let you know how it pans out.

Well, it's time to leave you alone, go to market, get some lunch (I've been up since 4.30, so this is lunch time for me :-) Don't forget to hug a loved one and twice when they're the fuzzy variety?

Love and hugs,

Monday, July 25, 2016

If we could think of this.....

why didn't the "powers that be"?

The EU rules and regulations are really starting to grate at me. They're so stupid!
Case in point: PRIVACY. You're being bombarded with any kind of hurdle when you're on the internet because of privacy rules. There's site that don't even function because of the cookie messages, if you click no, you can't even go there, some are put together so bad, that there's no button or anything to click off the cookie message, some have it where it comes up everytime you switch pages. It's enough to make me stop using the internet sometimes. I don't know what they're protecting, because the marketing people are now starting to put way worse intruders up, that are not cookies, but they collect things as to what computer you're using, including the programs you have on them.... How small is the step to checking the data that's IN the programs!? Cookies you can block, these things you cannot!

Besides THAT point, if they don't want businesses to know where you are, why is every phone equipped with a tracker, your bankcard (chip MANDATORY) has identifiers on it, not just your bank account and tracks what you buy, the customer savings cards track what you buy, when and in which store and most people that are whining about privacy show off their whole life on facebook, twitter and what have you.

However: Hanging camera's to protect monuments is agains EU privacy rules! We have had Hunnebedden (which are stone-age burial mounds) destroyed but nothing can be done about it, because "camera's are an intrusion on people's privacy". BULLCOOKIES! If you're just enjoying the monuments, you have nothing to worry about, if you're there to damage the monument, you SHOULD be on camera! And for all I care, it should be broadcasted.

After the shooting in Munich the other day, the policemen's faces were clearly shown, but the moron holding the gun was blurred out, for privacy reasons..... Give me  a break. There's no shadow of a doubt that he's the shooter, he's holding the freaking gun and pointing it at people! Show his face, so we know who we're dealing with.  Ive seen it before, where they ask help to a crime, there is a video where the people they're looking for are clearly visible, but the faces of the criminals are blurred out..... WTF!? What's the sense in that? How can any one identify someone that way?

On the other hand, if there is money to be made, the powers that be don't give a hootennannie about privacy. The work that the shop owners have to do to sell in EU is unreal. And it doesn't even matter where you call home. If you're in EU borders........ they'll take your information, including things that website cookies will never get their hands on, and it has to be saved for 10 years!! It is killing small businesses. Heck, it would kill a medium size business. If they figured that it would bring back brick-and-mortar stores, they went about it the wrong way, all it's doing is killing off the little guy that wants to do his thing. I don't even think that it gives any more revenue, because I've seen too many of the scrapbook shops close over the last 2 years.

I copied the notice that was posted for EU customers, it's the first time I've seen it spelled out like this clearly.

EU VAT Changes
It truly saddens us to have to exclude our EU vistors from purchases in the store. I have been searching daily since this has come to my attention for alternatives and a way to continue to take payments from EU countries, but so far have not found anything that is really a feasible time or financial option.
I have not given up yet, and am still trying to look for alternatives that will work again in the future...
EU vistors can still use the store to "order" free items, and any order that results in a zero balance at checkout either with a discount coupon or gift certificate balance. 

At this time though we are just not able to accept orders that require a payment from EU countries - in addition to managing time wise to collect the tax and remit it and required data several times throughout the year which all cost time and money for 28 countries (and even more individual zones), I would need to securely collect and hold several types of verified collaborating personal information to prove where the person purchasing is at the exact time they made the purchase (not necessarily where they live), for each EU customer on each EU sale and keep all of that data securely (again a cost factor) for *10 years* - or I could be fined an unlimited fine - from each country if for some reason the data was not correct or to their standard. It's not a risk that bears taking at this. There is no minimum threshold on sales for this law either, so for even just one dollar, or less, of sales in a specific EU country I would have to collect and submit tax and information.

I suggest everyone who canneeds to contact your tax representives or officials and let them know the burden this places on micro businesses, work from home businesses, mom businesses, kitchen table businesses, and craft businesses, and how it limits the resources available to you. The more people speak out the more the law may be reconsidered / rewritten and some of the burden lifted for those in micro markets like ours. We aren't anywhere near the likes of Amazon, Apple, Android, etc that this law seems to be geared towards and we simply cannot afford at this time to take on the financial obligation to majorly modify site coding, to catch all EU sales prior to payment to collect and verify several collaborating personally identifying factors, secure storage to hold identifiable data for 10 years on each order, or pay for outsourcing services to manage those international taxes and secure information.
Many designers and even site owners make only supplemental income, not even "minimum wage" at times... Our market is so competitive with huge discounts. Many designers sell quality packs at only a few dollars (or less sometimes)... But many do it because they absolutely love it; the creative outlet it provides and seeing the beautiful uses that come from their passion, and because the choice to supplement their families income is better than an alternative in their life, or no job at all. Most don't even meet income levels that are considered anywhere near average for a "small" business.
If circumstances change or a reasonable financial and store coding solution becomes an option we would LOVE to be able to open the store back up to EU customers. We love our EU friends and wish this was not a burden affecting any of us.
Help us take action and get this law changed into something manageable for micro businesses selling inside and outside the EU... This affects you no matter what country you are in as the EU expects sellers across the world no matter their business size to collect VAT tax, remit it to 28 countries, and hold the verifying information on the sales for 10 years. Contact your local tax authority, where ever you are, and get your voice heard! At a minimum we need reasonable thresholds before tax collection become a requirement. And hopefully we will see even more changes happen that benefit everyone.

Just a thought. Books are calling, so I'll sign off. The 10 minutes of "go see what's new in the scrapbook world" turned into half hour, and a bad mood, so I probably should take our fuzzy roommate for a walk and make a huge cup of tea before I start "work" for the day :-)

Hope to catch you all later, in a better mood, and with exam results.
Don't forget to hug a loved one?


Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Exam is turned in, I'm fried (physically and mentally), tired and on to the next foik in the road. LOL

Last week I was at my sisters, and very unexpectedly received a crash-course in PHP. My biggest nemesis in getting my exam turned in. I just couldn't get my head around what was in the book vs what was expected in the exam, but by the end of the night, I more or less "got it" enough to put the required form together. After that, I had to put everything together into a cohesive assignment, check, double check and for my own peace of mind check it again, and make sure I didn't miss some little thing that would turn around and bite me, and I was ready to mail it out 2 hours before deadline. Not that I'm slow or nothing, but the site where I had to upload the packet had some issues and it took about 3 hours to get it there, where after I freaked out with the "what if!?" thought, and send it straight to the school office, with an explanation that I really didn't trust the first try.  It really gets me, the week that all exams are due, they completely revamp the website! Nothing works the same, if it works at all, and there you are, sweating that you get your things to where they have to go, so you can graduate.......  Go figure!

Sunday, as promised we went to Bokrijk. WE HAD A BLAST, got blisters, sunburn and were in bed by 8, but it was so much fun! The old breeds was kind of a bust, because the one stand that had information didn't want to give any, after they found out that a) I was from Holland, and thus for some odd reason wouldn't be interested in preserving old breeds from Belgium and b) referring back to a, I wanted information on Dutch breeds, and they didn't have any. I couldn't get across that I was interested in any old breed, because the older the breed, the better for our castle, whether it was Dutch or Belgian, because, let's face it, in 1650 both were Spanish. LOL. Supposedly, there were several groups of the old breeds in the park, but they weren't marked as such, and I found out almost at the end of the day, that all the animals in the park are actually old breeds.... I found a book, I wouldn't mind getting into the store at the castle, so I took a picture of it.  There were a couple of things that made this day absolutely perfect.............
- I had my buddy all to myself.... No TV, no computer, not even a phone, because that's on my sisters' dinnertable, right where I left it!
- We were in our favorite place, outside and amongst other old things.
- We talked, like we haven't talked to each other since I started my study, and just enjoyed each others' company.
- The weather was nice, although it seemed a lot hotter than the 82 that was predicted, but there was a little bit of overcast, so we didn't get the full sunblast. (Obviously not enough so we didn't get a sunburn, but we just put a little extra cream on our faces, neck and head and we're good to go)

Today, I just caught up on all the emails I just glanced at over the last couple of weeks, generally got my barings and vegged. Laptop on knee, kitty close by, tea within reach... pretty much a pretty relaxing day :-)

Tomorrow I will organize my pictures, and notes and such and try and find the Dutch Group that preserves old breeds, finish my schedule of more studying, setting up my business, networking, marketing etc, as well as chores around the house., and the promised research for the castle.  I'm going to try and study less than the 50 hours a week I have been studying, so I have time for my best friend, the fuzzy roommate and family and friends and still have a couple of hours to sleep at night....This requires careful planning, and sticking to it. We DID decide that we want to take a couple of days and do fun stuff. One day to the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam to see the Nightwatch, and if we have time, the 17th century 3master ship that's anchored in the harbor, one day to The Hague, to see the architecture, and eat a maatjes haring on the pier (mike, not me... YUCK!), one day to the Roman ship in Utrecht and the old fort that is rebuilt there, and if I can slip it in there, one day to a zoo we haven't been to yet :-)  We got word that the castle will be closed for winter this year, so I may actually get the house decorated for the holidays, and some scrapping done thru november/december..... Although I WILL miss going to the castle and hanging out!

Thursday I will start the day with going to Maastricht at 7AM for a meet and greet/networking event, and after that, I will have to break down, and go pick up my phone. LOL, followed by a tourguide meeting at the castle at 7.30PM. No plans for Friday or Saturday yet, and Sunday is marked in my dayrunner as "First day of the new ME!"

Well, I think you know just about everything that's been keeping my mind in frenzy... I will try and keep you posted on the proceedings a little more regularly, but for now, I'm going to say... Goodnight, and don't forget to hug that loved one! :-)